Christmas music for business: Pro tips and playlists

Here’s everything you need to know about creating the perfect retail Christmas music soundscape for your business. Explore the most popular playlists, from holiday classics to the latest Christmas hits.

Christmas music for retail

With the Christmas season upon us, Soundtrack Your Brand's music team has curated a wide  array of  retail Christmas music to entice customers while avoiding that all-too-familiar “jingle bell fatigue.”

Soundtrack’s library of new and nostalgic retail Christmas music will make your business glow with brand-friendly holiday spirit, while ensuring your background music is properly licensed for business use.

This guide covers everything you need to know about retail Christmas music for your business. Plus, we share 5 playlists to help set the tone and boost sales this holiday season.

Posted on November 23, 2023

7 Essential Tips when Playing Retail Christmas Music in Your Business

Christmas music can improve customers’ moods, increase sales, and create a memorable experience. But if it’s overdone or there’s too much repetition, it may also be counterproductive. Use these tips to get the most out of your retail Christmas music.

1. Don’t start (or stop) playing Christmas music too soon

Even if you changed your shop windows and merchandising for the Christmas season the day after Halloween, you may want to bring in the holiday music slowly. Too much Christmas music may result in holiday fatigue if played too early—particularly for employees. 

Make sure you don’t stop playing holiday music too soon, either. The days between Christmas and New Year’s are an excellent opportunity to extend the Christmas feeling for your customers. A typical window to play holiday music is from the week prior to Black Friday to shortly before New Year’s, but you can subtly weave in Christmas tunes even longer by following tip #3 below.

2. Use a streaming platform that’s legal for businesses

Did you know that it’s illegal to use Spotify or other consumer platforms to stream music in a commercial setting? In order to eliminate the risk of being fined for copyright infringement, ensuring you have the proper licenses to play music in your establishments, whether you own a single venue or hundreds of locations, is key. 

Soundtrack Your Brand offers affordable monthly subscription plans with over twelve hundred  playlists and 90 million songs licensed for business use.

3. Work Christmas songs into your repertoire—without letting them take over

Playing only Christmas music in your retail shop can feel repetitive, even at the height of the season. We recommend balancing your musical landscape by combining Christmas and non-Christmas songs. For example, you could have every 2nd, 3rd, or 4th song be a holiday track. 

The easiest way to set this up is by utilizing Soundtrack’s scheduling feature. If you drop multiple playlists into the same slot on your Soundtrack Schedule, they will play round-robin: one song from the first playlist, one from the second playlist, one from the third, and so on!

To learn more, check out our tutorial video on scheduling.


“Christmas music can be a blessing and a curse, depending on how you use it. While it gets people’s emotions going and can have a positive effect on shopping behavior, too much can have the opposite effect—especially among staff.”

Magnus Rydén, VP Music at Soundtrack

4. Stay on brand by playing your usual genres

If you usually play popular tracks, then play pop Christmas songs. If you typically play independent music, then play indie Christmas songs.

It’s not that you can’t mix in holiday classics or a rendition of “White Christmas,” but your guests are listening and will connect with your brand if you stay true to your brand’s sound identity. And if you use the scheduling tip above, alternating between Christmas and non-Christmas songs can create the most effective retail Christmas music experience.

5. Try alternatives to the overplayed classics

Consider playing alternate versions of your favorite Christmas classics. Check out the range of Holiday playlists and titles here.     

Thinking outside of the box applies to individual songs, playlists, and entire genres. Although leaning toward your usual genres and brand sound is good, you can try adjacent ones to curate a more unique listening experience. Again, mix in some classics or add adjacent genres from Christmas Instrumental, Reggae, Country, or Jazz into your repertoire.

6. Source suggestions from your team or social media

Talk to your team about the kind of Christmas music you’ll play, when you’ll play it, and why. They may have some insights from guests, which also helps them feel included. Ask them for suggestions on making the retail Christmas music listening and work experience enjoyable and not too repetitive.

Lesser-known songs can often see an online resurgence, mainly thanks to platforms like TikTok. Check out social media to see which songs are popular, and consider rotating trending tunes into your repertoire.

7. Take breaks from X-mas tunes, especially after hours

Your team may need a break after a long day, so you might switch up the mix in your schedule after hours. If you run a customer-centric business including a retail store, hair salon, bar or med spa, plan non-Xmas music before opening and after closing. 

If you’re playing instrumental Christmas music at your office or lobby, try taking breaks by scheduling a non-Christmas slot in the day, such as between 1 and 3 p.m., during which time you can play instrumental jazz instead.


1. Why do retail stores play Christmas music?

A great retail Christmas music playlist will give customers a positive and uplifting experience that gets them into the spirit of the season while they’re in your store. And a happy customer in the holiday mood is more likely to purchase!

2. Why do retail stores play Christmas music after Christmas?

While December 25th marks the end of the official holiday, the retail season actually goes on for a week or more. Customers will need to return and exchange items, and there are also many post-Christmas sales they may take advantage of while still being in the holiday spirit. 

3. Why do retail stores play the same music?

Creating a unique soundtrack for your brand can be the most cost efficient way to differentiate your business and guest experience. Whether you're playing curated playlists or holiday hits, there is an abundance of music and select genres that can help set the perfect mood for the cadence of your business day and create the perfect environment for your target customer. Soundtrack Your Brand can help you to customize your brand’s experience throughout the year. 

4. When should stores start playing Christmas music?

Black Friday is a good time to start your holiday soundtrack, though many retailers begin sprinkling in a few songs in the weeks leading up to it. Depending on how much you can customize your retail Christmas music playlist, it may be a good idea to start adding them to the mix on the early side.

5. When should stores stop playing Christmas music?

There is a natural marketing transition between December 25th and January 1st, and the Christmas season tends to extend through the end of December as stores handle returns and post-Christmas sales. Typically, Christmas music should taper off a few days before the calendar flips in preparation for New Year’s sales.

5 Memorable Retail Christmas Music Playlists for Your Business

The top playlists were specially curated to offer some classic Christmas tunes alongside fresh hits and unexpected takes on the holiday season.

Restaurant Playlist

1. Restaurant Christmas

Here, you’ll find 6 hours of pop and indie Christmas songs that major retailers haven’t overplayed. Enjoy “Here This Christmas” by Gwen Stefani, “My Perfect Christmas” by Nova Miller, and “Cuddle Up” by Catey Shaw.

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Christmas Choir

2. Christmas Choir

These time-honored tracks make you want to gather around the Christmas tree with friends and family. Our Christmas Choir playlist brings out the softer side of the season with beautiful renditions of “For Unto Us a Child Is Born,” “Silent Night,” “A Shepherd’s Carol,” and “O Holy Night.”

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Holiday Hits

3. Holiday Hits

This playlist combines different decades and genres to keep things exciting and unpredictable. Enjoy “Last Christmas” by Ariana Grande, “All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey, “Frosty the Snowman” by Fiona Apple, and hits from Sia, Ingrid Michaelson, Paul McCartney, The Supremes, Kacy Musgraves, and Elvis Presley.

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Instrumental Christmas

4. Instrumental Christmas

With our Instrumental retail Christmas music playlist, you get the beautiful sounds of Christmas without the lyrics. This playlist is excellent for quiet settings where people need to focus, such as offices and cafés.

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80s Christmas playlist cover

5. 80’s Christmas

Got some ’80s lovers around? They’ll love this playlist of pop holiday hits and ballads from a decade whose influence lives on. Stand-out songs include “Early Christmas Morning” by Cyndi Lauper, “Christmas in Dixie” by Alabama, “Father Christmas” by The Kinks, and “Merry, Merry Christmas” by New Kids On the Block.

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Want more? For over 30 Holiday playlists visit Soundtrack’s complete selection of holiday music.

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